Even when your divorce has already been finalized, Florida law allows for the modification of most aspects of the final judgment under certain conditions, excluding the equitable distribution of marital property, which can never be modified under any circumstances.
Specifically, if alimony was awarded in the initial divorce judgment, and there has been an unexpected, involuntary and substantial change in circumstances that affects the paying party’s ability to pay or the receiving party’s need for support, the alimony payment may be modifiable in amount, and sometimes in duration. Issues involving minor children, namely child support, parental responsibility and timesharing, may be modifiable if there has been a substantial, material and unanticipated change in circumstances since the entry of final judgment, such that a modification is in the best interest of the child.
During my years as a practicing divorce attorney, I handled many cases involving modifications such as these, and unfortunately, the adversarial nature of the traditional litigation model often resulted in the parties spending a significant amount of money on legal fees, and emotional damage to the former spouses and their children as these modification proceedings wound their way through the court system.
If you are facing circumstances that might justify a modification of your original divorce judgment, I urge you to consider mediation before you simply run to court and file a supplemental proceeding. Even if your former spouse is reluctant to discuss any changes, he or she will be much more likely to compromise when the matter is handled through mediation instead of a public courtroom battle. Please contact Healthy Family Mediation Center to learn more about how we can help you to achieve a modification that is fair to both parties in an affordable manner.